Mineral Habit is setting up in Tucson right now. It’s a collection of vendors focused primarily on minerals. Address is 1920 North Oracle Road in Tucson. Their billboard website supplies the map below.
Wendi “Ace” Elkins will be there, she of Minerals Unlimited in Ridgecrest, California. (internal link) If you haven’t met her, visited her store, or wasted enormous sums of money at her website buying obscure minerals that leave your family cursing you for flagrant, wanton, and irresponsible spending , then your life has been pathetic and small. Redeem yourself by visiting Mineral Habitat starting on February 4th through the 10th.
As with every show, go with cash in small bills and lots of them. Not all vendors take plastic. If you do use credit cards in Tucson, call your credit card company ahead of time. Dealers come from all over the world so charges may appear from Nairobi, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Murmansk.
Please tell Wendi that Thomas Farley sent you. With luck she won’t jump back or call 911. My past purchases mark me as insane but as a madman with a little money, I am tolerated. Ace has been working in the same shop in Ridgecrest since she was eight and is a delight to talk to. I have rarely stumped her with my requests and all things come neatly labeled.
I’ve built my rare earth mineral collection nearly totally from her inventory. So, if you yearn for xenotime (Y) with biotite from Iveland, Setesdal, Norway, then you need to talk to Ace. And if you don’t need that, talk to her anyway. You’ll find something. —
— Some of my rare earth mineral collection, recently depleted a bit. —
If you drop in for one day to see the The Big Show, properly known as the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, you will find parking a mess. The convention center’s parking lot will probably be jammed, with nowhere to park your vehicle. Side streets will be filled, with constant traffic enforcement roaming the area. Plan ahead.
The Big Show’s dates are February 14th through the 17th. If you have a smartphone, put the Uber or Lyft app on it and use those ride sharing apps to arrange trips from your hotel. If you don’t have a smartphone, an alternative is to ask your desk clerk if they can call a ride. Better yet, get a smart phone and learn how to use it. In a city it is your best communication, information, and navigation tool.
Most people will want to check out the variety of vendors operating out of satellite locations around the city. Be advised that many of them start packing up for the Big Show a few days in advance, so that dealer you want to see may not be around if you come in close to the 14th. Also, the shuttle bus service may not be running the weekend of The Big Show. This website promises that it will be, but I would definitely call first and make sure. Why do this?
To get around to the satellite dealers you’ll need to find each location, often a hotel, and move your car from spot to spot. Traffic will be a zoo in Tucson that week and you won’t want to be driving in circles, looking for parking, while you try to find venue after venue. Take the shuttle. Preferably, come in several days before the Big Show Weekend when you know both the shuttle and all the locations will be open. The city bus system is also an option. If you must drive because you are carrying lots of heavy items or selling same, check out parking lots before going to a venue, not while driving to them for the first time.
I know this may involve more time and effort than you want to expend, but Tucson is huge and three or four days will give you time to experience a great deal of what it has to offer.
Again, parking. And traffic. You have been warned.